Facebook has secured a four-year deal with the International Cricket Council (ICC), the sport’s global governing body, to become the exclusive digital content rights partner for ICC global events in the Indian sub-continent until 2023.
The partnership, which the ICC described in a joint statement as “ground-breaking”, will allow Facebook to show a wide range of content on its Watch platform, including match recaps and in-play key moments, although not the live-streaming of matches.
In addition to its exclusive content rights in the Indian sub-continent, the partnership will see Facebook carry post-match recaps throughout the rest of the world.
At least 12 major ICC global events feature in the deal, including the World Test Championship final in 2021 and the Men’s Cricket World Cup in 2023, which India will host.
The ICC made it clear how important it views Facebook’s digital involvement in the Cricket World Cup to expand and deepen interest in the sport globally.
“The combination of one of the world’s most watched sports with one of the world’s largest platforms is exciting for the future of our game,” said Manu Sawhney, chief executive of the ICC.
“The record-breaking growth in digital consumption at this summer’s ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup demonstrated the continued power of cricket to connect and engage more deeply with diverse audiences around the world” he added.
While cricket has limited appeal in Facebook’s home market of the US, the sport is massive in India, Pakistan and other countries in the sub-continent. Facebook is also aware that cricket is popular in some of its key mature markets like the UK.
According to the ICC, its new collaboration with Facebook builds on the “unprecedented digital success” of this summer’s Men’s Cricket World Cup hosted by England and Wales, which attracted 4.6 billion video views across ICC’s digital and social media platforms.
Ajit Mohan, VP and managing director of Facebook India, indicated that the ICC would now be able to extend its reach and engage more fans over the coming years.
“With Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, the ICC has an exceptional opportunity to leverage our family of apps to serve current sports fans as well as bring in an entirely new generation of fans,” he said.
“With this partnership, we will be able to serve these fans with the kind of premium content that can ignite new conversations, new connections and new followership.”
Sourced from ICC, Facebook; additional content by WARC staff